Rachel Yakar (3 March 1936 – 24 June 2023) was a highly regarded French operatic soprano and esteemed voice teacher. Throughout her illustrious career, she gained recognition for her remarkable interpretations of Mozart's works, her expertise in Baroque opera, and her compelling performances in contemporary opera.
Born into a Jewish family in Lyon on 3 March 1936, Yakar received her musical education under the guidance of Germaine Lubin at the renowned Paris Conservatoire. In 1963, she made her debut at the Strasbourg Opera, marking the beginning of a successful and enduring career.
In 1964, Yakar joined the esteemed Deutsche Oper am Rhein, where she would remain a cherished member of the ensemble for over 25 years. Her talent and versatility allowed her to captivate audiences in a wide range of roles and productions. Notably, during the mid to late 1970s, she showcased her artistry at prestigious events such as the Bayreuth Festival from 1975, the Glyndebourne Festival from 1977, the Edinburgh Festival, the Salzburg Festival, and the Royal Opera House in London.
Yakar's repertoire was vast and included iconic Mozart roles such as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and First Lady in Die Zauberflöte. Additionally, she excelled in Baroque opera, taking on illustrious title roles like Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea and Rameau's Aricie. Her performances also encompassed memorable portrayals of characters such as Climène in Lully's Phaëton and Circé in Leclair's Scylla et Glaucus. Demonstrating her versatility, she embraced the works of the 20th century, including her roles as Diane in Honegger's Les aventures du roi Pausole and Madame Lidoine in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites.
In addition to her remarkable achievements as a performer, Yakar also dedicated herself to sharing her knowledge and passion for music. She served as a respected voice teacher at the Paris Conservatoire until 1997, nurturing the talents of aspiring singers and imparting her invaluable expertise.
Sadly, Rachel Yakar passed away on 24 June 2023 at the age of 87.
Her legacy as a gifted soprano and influential teacher will continue to inspire and resonate within the world of opera, leaving an indelible mark on the art form she so passionately embraced.
Listen to an excerpt of soprano, Rachel Yakar, in the video below.